By Erma Edera
The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said only a few overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Libya were willing to return to the Philippines amid the escalation of violence in the North African country.
Out of the 4,000 Filipinos living and working in Libya, only 20 percent or 800 of them wanted to go home despite the repatriation assistance being offered by DOLE, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said.
“Diyan sa 4,000 na yan, siguro malaki na yung 20 percent na gustong umuwi (Out of the 4,000, maybe it’s just 20 percent of them are willing to go home), Bello said in a radio interview.
However, the labor secretary said they would provide “full assistance” to the workers who want to be repatriated.
“Depende kung anong available na air transportation, pwedeng mag-charter, pwedeng mag commercial flight (It depends on what air transportation is available, probably we could charter a flight or we could take the commercial flight) ,” Bello said.
“Ang importante, we will help them. We will give full assistance for their repatriation if that is their desire (What is important is that we will help them) ” he added.
On Wednesday, Bello ordered a total deployment ban of OFWs upon the advice of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
DFA on Monday raised Alert Level III in Tripoli, and some areas within a 100-kilometer radius of the capital, which is considered as voluntary repatriation phase.